#20: The Magic of Dashboards

 In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:

〉What are Dashboards?

〉How can dashboards power up your business?




In this episode of the Power Up Project, we talk about the power of dashboards. Welcome back to the Power Up Project, I’m your host Ben Dampney. Today, we’re going to power up your business with dashboards.

Dashboards are a single page that show key pieces of data in an easy to digest format. They can range from graphs, charts, gauges to heat maps or flashing alerts on a page. This can be a webpage, it can be an online document, it can be an updated Excel spreadsheet, for example. Now, every business can benefit from financial dashboards. They give you a visual representation on a single page of current and historic financial performance. These can be created in most modern financial accounting packages, such as Xero. They can also be generated using Microsoft Power BI connected to older packages that do not include this sort of functionality, things like MYOB or Reckon for instance.

The beauty of financial dashboards is they turn numbers into gauges and graphs that can be read easily and allowing you to quickly understand your financial metrics. However, I’d encourage you to think about the key metrics or performance indicators in your business. For our IT business, outside of financial reporting, we’re actually interested in a couple of different indicators. We have a dashboard that shows client servers if they’re down, service tickets that require attention, and clients that are awaiting a response from us around a service item. Being aware of these items and numbers allows us to ensure that key components of our customer service delivery don’t get overlooked. We actually have a big screen in our office that shows these key metrics, and everyone at any point in time can look up and see exactly where those key indicators are at. Ideally, we’re trying to get to zero, which is green, which means no one’s waiting for us to do work for them, we’re proactively managing our clients and their systems.

Now, another dashboard we have shows us engineer billable time and open tickets. It’s a great way to ensure our engineers are being utilised correctly without being overburdened. We can also use this dashboard to make employment decisions, as we can easily see trends in engineer workloads, if one’s getting too much work for instance, we can then look to employ someone based on some of these metrics.

Another example might be for a transport company who may be interested in average weekly trip times, vehicle service intervals, driver load times, all of which can affect your profitability and ideally let you know what your utilisation is of your vehicles and your staff.

Now, in all instances, I’d encourage you to ensure that the dashboard you use is clean and simple. This is a really important part of dashboards, in my mind, the critical part. They need to show the five or six key drivers that will have the most effect on your business. Now, these should align directly with your business goals. If you follow the trends in the dashboards you have, you have information that enables you to manage your business with precision, rather than feel. You feel busy, but what does the stats and dashboard exactly show you around your staff utilisation, your sales delivery, etc.?

So I encourage you to check out dashboards, they’re awesome. Power BI’s a really simple tool to use, there’s lots of plug-ins and templates you can go and grab it and start straight away. Xero has some great financial dashboards that you can look at and set up. There are many other products out there that will do dashboards according on your data .

Thank you for listening to the Power Up Project, brought to you by Digit IT and Grassroots IT, and please remember to leave a review for us wherever you found this podcast. Until next time, keep powering up.

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